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the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

Atlanta Public Schools plans to focus on chronic absenteeism, missing any school, instead of truancy, unexcused absences. This takes the focus off of the legal process and onto the academic impact.
Georgia school districts deal with spiking chronic absenteeism
Brennan FrittsMay 16, 2024

Chronic absenteeism, a condition where a student misses 10% or more of a school year, has spiked in Georgia since COVID-19. Pre-COVID, Atlanta...

Midtown restaurant serves up really good tacos

AY CARAMBA: The roasted sweet potatoes (to the left of the empanada) may have been the highlight of my meal—the queso fresco perfectly complemented the potatoes’ charred exterior and sweet interior.

There is an absolute oyster wedged at the corner of Peachtree and Fifth street. Rreal Tacos proved itself a pearl serving me the best meal I’ve had this year.

Thankfully, the prices are kind to a light wallet. I could easily have satisfied my stomach for less than $10, but in the name of journalism, I decided to spend a little more.

My party ordered three tacos at $2.99 each: the Veggie, filled with refried beans and a wedge of deep-fried avocado, the Chicken a la Veracruzana, which featured shredded chicken, tomatoes, capers, olives, onions and garlic, and the Pork Trompo, stuffed with delectable pieces of spit-roasted pork. Cilantro, onion, lime and either salsa roja or salsa verde accompanied each taco.

Because I am a glutton, I knew I also had to sample several of the sides, all of which were between $3 and $4. I first ordered the Rreal salad, which featured local greens, tomato, red onion, cucumber, garbanzo beans, crispy pork and mustard dressing. The prospect of traditional Mexican short pasta prompted me to order the fideos secos a la Mexicana; I also decided to try the roasted local sweet potato for good measure.

As I placed my order, a charismatic employee working the register simultaneously canoodled me into ordering a glass of kelly-green cucumber juice and explained the culinary history behind many of the menu’s finer items.

Mere minutes after I took my seat, three sparkling steel trays landed on my table. I felt like I had won a game of Monopoly when my server explained that the kitchen had made an error in my favor—for no extra cost, I received a small Abuela’s salad in addition to the rest of my meal.

I first sampled the veggie taco. The warm avocado melted in my mouth, but the refried beans had too uniform a texture for my taste and the taco shell was disappointingly bland. I realized later that I had dug my own culinary grave. It was only after I finished my tacos that I noticed the salsas sitting in small blue bowls. In too much of a hurry to satiate my growling stomach, I had neglected to dress my tacos.

Next I sampled the Chicken a la Veracruzana, which was reminiscent of chicken piccata. It was tasty, but surely would have been more so if I had made use of the salsas.

Luckily, however, I had saved the best taco for last. I knew the Pork Trompo would be a winner when I glimpsed a thick roll of pork roasting on a spit to the left of the register, but I couldn’t have anticipated the shining beacon of savoriness that would soon sit in front of me. I could have eaten a plateful of that delectable pork, but in far too short a time an empty plate sat in front of me.

It was then time to sample the sides. I first reached for the accidental order of Abuela’s salad, which somewhat surprisingly happened to be my favorite part of my meal. Thick, juicy chard coated in cilantro dressing and queso fresco complimented chunks of buttery avocado and pineapple. I firmly believe that this salad ought to be required eating for all Atlantans.

Next, I reached for the Mexican short pasta. Essentially, it tasted like spaghetti. The pico de gallo and crema made it taste somewhat less Italian; although it was delicious, the pasta seemed out of place in a meal otherwise marked by tacos and salsa.

The roasted sweet potatoes were perfectly tender and had a slightly smoky, charred flavor; chunks of savory queso Fresca balanced out their sweetness of the potatoes and gave the side a more Mexican twist.

The Rreal salad’s tangy mustard dressing and remarkably fresh components complimented the rest of my meal, but because other gems of the menu had spoiled me, I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the salad was nothing more than a very good salad. I expected something more memorable given the tastiness of the rest of my meal.

As I set down my fork, I finished the last sip of my cucumber juice. The juice, which I ordered on a whim, was outstanding. It had a citrusy tanginess that beautifully balanced out my meal’s more savory components.

After just one meal, Rreal taco has proven itself to be one of my favorite restaurants: the uniqueness of many of the menu items and freshness of the ingredients are a truly winning combination.

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Midtown restaurant serves up really good tacos